“Globalization” by Kinsee Morlan
Tijuana is studied by academics worldwide. I ran into one who said the reason he was so interested in the border town was because it is one of the first places to really show the effects of globalization. He said the rest of the world would be following the lead of Tijuana in the next decade or so.
I see the effects he’s talking about, and they’re both good and bad. The bad is on the econmic side. NAFTA has completely devestated not just Tijuana, but the entire country of Mexico by making it impossible for Mexican farmers to compete with the big American corporations. Many of the out-of-work farmers have migrated north to work in the maquiladoras, or foreign-owned factories, that populate Tijuana and other parts of northern Mexico. The maquilas disrespect not only the workers, but the environment and Mexican laws as well. If you ask a NAFTA supporter, she’ll say, ‘well, at least they have jobs now, they wouldn’t have anything without foreign investment.’ If you ask people inside the fight for workers’ rights, however, they’ll tell you the Mexican people would be better off without the maquilas.
On the flip side, globalization has made Tijuana a truly bilingual, bi-cultural city. That, according to me, is a good thing. The city takes the best from both worlds, making the overriding culture a sort of hybrid form of Mexican-Americanism. I dig that for culinary, musical and artistic reasons.
Globalization has also been good for feminism. The traditionally macho Mexican culture you’ll find in Southern Mexico isn’t as prevalant in Tijuana. Tijuanense women have shown that there are more options in life than marriage and kids.